For Mindy Longstreet, a work day at Lakeland is never predictable. The school services coordinator since 2005, the Scott Twp. resident and Marywood University alumna works behind the scenes to help students succeed. Read on to learn more about this versatile educator.
Q: How did you begin working for Lakeland?
A: As a stay at home mom with two small children, I found out about the job through a close friend. After looking at the job description and how my background in social work would be incorporated, I applied for the position. This job also worked well around my children’s schedules as they were involved in many sports and other activities at the time. When I “grew up,” I always had a love for helping and assisting people. This being said, I brought this passion to college and I attended Marywood University and studied social work. My role at the school most definitely fulfills what I wanted to do when I was younger. I love interacting with the students and staff in the district, and I love that I have the opportunity to make a difference in those around me through my passion of helping others.
Q: What do you do all day?
A: Whenever I am asked what I do all day, I can never give a right answer because each day is something different. My job title as the school services coordinator involves a lot of different tasks throughout the building. Some of these tasks might include assisting teachers in classrooms, dealing with behavioral needs, helping students open lockers, distributing Chromebooks or having a parent meeting about a certain student. My job also requires me to work closely with the IT department, administration and maintenance to make sure everything in the building is running smoothly. Most of my work is done behind the scenes. I help students develop positive attitudes in the school and learning environment, as well as positive relationships with peers, parents, teachers and families. I also help develop social skills and help students deal with different issues like personal concerns, school-related problems, home and family concerns, and any other questions and/or concerns that they might have. Another big role that my job involves is that I am always in the hallways of the building. I monitor student behavior in the hallways and cafeteria, and help the students with any issues that they might have even if it doesn’t have to do with something in the building. At Lakeland, we have a program that I am involved in called TRIBE (Trustworthy, Respectful, Involved, Brave, Excellent). This program is a positive behavioral program that promotes positive behavior amongst all students and staff and offers intervention and support for those in need. The best part of my job is when I hear from students that are past graduates and I get to hear about their accomplishments and successes in life. It is always a great feeling to hear about the impact that I have had on their future and watching them grow. The hardest part of my job is when a student needs more help than I can offer them.
Q: What would you say to a kid who is interested in pursuing a career in education?
A: If a student was interested in pursuing a career in education, I would tell the student that I would support them, and explain to them that education is not just being a teacher. I personally think that when students think of the educational system, they instantly think of teaching. There are so many different career paths within education. Some paths include becoming a counselor, emotional support, administration or even business. I never realized how many different departments it takes for a school to run until I started working in education. Every department is important and has a key role in the everyday function of the school. There are a variety of other jobs out there that students are able to pursue. They have the opportunity to go to trade schools, military, college or even go right to the workforce after graduation.
Q. This past year and a half have been tough on educators and students. What did you learn about yourself and about education during the pandemic?
A: This past year and a half was definitely difficult for everyone, especially educators and students. During this setback, I learned that no matter what the Lakeland School District is faced with, we always do what is in the best interest and wellbeing of the students and staff. Our first priority is always the safety of those who are in the building. What I learned about myself was that I realized the impact that I have on students when they are in the building compared to when they are virtual. In person interaction benefits not only the students, but it is an easier way for me to build relationships with students as well. I also realized how big of an impact that the students have on me throughout the school year. Going forward, I will make sure every student feels important, safe and welcomed because we have all gone through so much with the pandemic and we want to give everyone a sense of normalcy.
Q: When you’re not at Lakeland, what are some of the things you like to do to unwind and relax?
A: When I’m not at Lakeland, I like going to the gym and being as active as I can. I love spending time with my family and our dog. One of my favorite things to do is to watch my daughter Brooke play soccer for Marywood, she is a senior captain on the team. I also try to spend as much time as I can with my parents. My family means everything to me, and the time that I get to spend with them means the most to me.